first_imgThis week: A Geography paper by Classicist Josie Thaddeus-JohnsAttempt to account for the fall in total fertility rate in China from 7.5 in the 1960s to 1.8 in 2002.During this period there has been a reduction in the amount of dating advice given in schools – instead of students being taught flirtation techniques, they are encouraged into academia. The lack of dating agencies also means that Chinese citizens have struggled to find either will or way to have sex with one another. The final decisive factor has been the huge rise in erectile dysfunction, particularly during the ‘80s, when shoulder pads were in fashion.last_img

The loaded history of self-defense

first_imgAfter the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, Harvard historian Caroline Light felt compelled to explore the roots of the American right to self-defense, which has helped turned the United States into a country with more guns than people.In her new book, “Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense,” Light traces the development of the notion of self-defense from English common law to contemporary stand-your-ground laws. The Gazette sat down with Light to talk about her book, the rise of armed citizenship, and the idea that the right to self-defense has traditionally been wielded by the most privileged against the most vulnerable. GAZETTE: In your book, you trace the history of the American right to self-defense to before the foundation of the United States. Where does this notion come from?LIGHT: I traced the legal theory and ideology of lethal self-defense back to English common law principles, which are foundational to what would eventually become the United States legal system. But self-defense had serious limitations in the English context. People in the United States forget that originally English common law doctrine held a “duty to retreat” that meant that you were obligated to retreat in the face of an attack. The one exception was enunciated in a 1604 court case involving an intrusion of agents of the king into a man’s private dwelling. These are the origins of the Castle Doctrine, which says that you do not have the duty to retreat when you’re in your home because “a man’s home is his castle.” This doctrine originated as an exemption to the duty to retreat, but in the United States it turned into a very expansive set of notions about who is allowed to fight back lethally against whom. The ideology of lethal self-defense is very selective in the U.S., even if we claim to be gender-blind and race-blind. When people in the U.S. said, “A man’s home is his castle,” what they actually meant was, “A white, property-owning man’s home is his castle,” and he’s allowed to fight back.GAZETTE: How did the notion of self-defense that emerged in the 17th century as a privilege for white men who owned property, as you argue, evolve over the centuries?LIGHT: When we look back into the roots of self-defense laws in the United States, we also see that they’re tethered to colonialism, legalized slavery, and the legal doctrine of coverture, which meant that married women couldn’t own any property because their rights were literally “covered” by their husbands. All of these different principles of exclusion were embedded in what would become the United States’ legal system. And as I traced them through time, even as laws started becoming more inclusive, self-defense laws were adjudicated chiefly to protect white men and their property. That took off in the post-Reconstruction era, late in the 19th century, when we see court cases in several states where white men are allowed to fight back lethally even when they aren’t in their home. We don’t see anything like that happening for African-Americans because in the wake of the Civil War, black codes and vagrancy laws, etc., restricted black freedom and access to full citizenship. And most black codes prohibited African-Americans from possessing weapons for self-defense. Similarly, women couldn’t defend themselves against violence from their husbands. I argue that lethal self-defense has been legalized for the most privileged even if, rhetorically, we celebrate self-defense as something universal to all citizens.GAZETTE: What is the turning point at which the “duty to retreat” from threat becomes what you call a “selective right to kill”?LIGHT: The pivotal moment coincides with the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s. There are two crucial court cases, one in Ohio and one in Indiana, in which the state courts decide not to obligate white men to retreat in the face of danger even if they’re outside their homes. This coincided with the moment the federal government withdrew federal forces from the South, which meant it withdrew protections for newly freed people. This was done in the interest of protecting white property, especially given the end of slavery. This legal shift accompanied an effort by whites to retain a claim to what had been their property, to maintain control over formerly enslaved people. The 13th Amendment carried a loophole by which white Southerners could continue enslaving African-Americans under the guise of incarceration for criminal behavior. For instance, vagrancy laws could be used to keep African-Americans in prison. All of these things are part of a larger constellation in which self-defense laws were mobilized selectively in the interest of white property.GAZETTE: How would you describe the legacy of this belief system in today’s American society?LIGHT: Lethal self-defense, in many ways, has become naturalized as a universal civil right. What that means is that many Americans see it as their right to carry a lethal weapon in the interest of self-defense. I tracked the transition from the late 20th-century focus on hunting to what we see today, which is an urgent accumulation of firearms for self-defense. On top of that, stand-your-ground laws have spread to over half the states, declaring that you can “stand your ground” against an attack wherever you may be, even outside your home. But as we’ve seen with cases like Trayvon Martin’s, these laws are not adjudicated in a way that entitles everybody to protect themselves from what they perceive to be a reasonable threat.GAZETTE: You said that the killing of Trayvon Martin inspired you to write this book. How so?LIGHT: That moment was crucial for many Americans. Trayvon’s death and his killer’s ability to walk free were an awakening to the prevalence of racial violence in our supposedly color-blind society. And even though many people would say that the Trayvon Martin case had nothing to do with stand-your-ground laws, it still resonates in terms of how the jury was instructed to consider George Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence. Stand-your-ground laws provide an exemption from criminal prosecution for people who use lethal self-defense in response to a reasonable threat, and that’s what the jury acted on. They believed that it was reasonable for Zimmerman to fear for his life when he saw an unarmed black teenager. I think that speaks volumes to the pernicious injustice of stand-your-ground laws.GAZETTE: In your book, you call stand-your-ground laws part of the “Do-It-Yourself Security Citizenship” movement. Could you tell us what this means?LIGHT: “Do-It-Yourself Security Citizenship” is the idea that an individual can and will be heroically prepared to fight in defense of himself and other innocent lives around him. It’s a seductive narrative for many people. And gun ownership, this notion that you must be prepared to kill or be killed, is at the center of “Do-It-Yourself Security Citizenship.” Whether you have a gun or not, the core idea is that no one is going to protect you, the government won’t protect you, and law enforcement won’t protect you. So as a good citizen, you need to take your safety and security into your own hands. The National Rifle Association [NRA] plays a powerful role in distributing and naturalizing this knowledge, making it seem like an emblem of patriotism to accumulate and carry weapons. Gun ownership is no longer about hunting or recreation; it’s about an urgent necessity to protect yourself from danger and to participate in armed citizenship, which the NRA characterizes as the ideal of American patriotism. Their message is that when you protect yourself, you make everybody safer. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to protect yourself, but I’m asking people to be more self-critical about the way in which “Do-It-Yourself Security Citizenship” is based on anxiety and fear about criminal strangers, including the perception of black masculinity as a threat in and of itself.GAZETTE: Would you say that the notion of the right to self-defense is part of the DNA of the country? If so, how do you think it will evolve?LIGHT: Yes, in a way, it’s in our DNA, but we have our own particular genetic mutations. As the duty to retreat and the Castle Doctrine were transported to what would become the United States, they changed due to the influence of our specific economy, our ideal of Manifest Destiny, the legacy of slavery, and also our willful amnesia around the ways in which the violence of slavery has not been left in the past at all. It is in many ways built into our DNA, but does that mean we can’t change it? I remain hopeful that we may become more critical about armed citizenship and its impact on public safety. It’s going to take all of us to rethink and question DIY Security Citizenship as the emblem of patriotism.last_img read more

No room for error on assisted dying

first_imgNewsRoom 10 July 2020Family First Comment: An important commentary….“I read headlines stating the majority of public (63%) support legalising euthanasia, according to the poll. To the untrained eye, that looks like some strong evidence that the End of Life Choice Act (EOLC Act) is a done deal. But to me it just smacks of the same shallow approach to this vote that many are tempted into making. Hold that poll up against other polls that show 74% of Kiwis don’t know we can already turn off life support, 70% incorrectly think the EOLC Act will legalise the choice not to be resuscitated (which is already legal), and 75% thought it would only be available when all other treatments have been tried… so I wonder what information we are basing our poll voting on?Most Kiwis aren’t aware that the end of life choice act is not a concept they’ll be voting for, but specific, unmovable legislation. And if we make a mistake, death is a heavy penalty, writes Caralise Trayes. A new Colmar Brunton poll revealed last weekend doesn’t do any favours in helping people recognise the binding referendum question they will actually be asked at this year’s election. It only reinforces the point that Kiwis aren’t being equipped to make an informed vote.I read headlines stating the majority of public (63 percent) support legalising euthanasia, according to the poll. To the untrained eye, that looks like some strong evidence that the End of Life Choice Act (EOLC Act) is a done deal. But to me it just smacks of the same shallow approach to this vote that many are tempted into making.Hold that poll up against other polls that show 74 percent of Kiwis don’t know we can already turn off life support, 70 percent incorrectly think the EOLC Act will legalise the choice not to be resuscitated (which is already legal), and 75 percent thought it would only be available when all other treatments have been tried… so I wonder what information we are basing our poll voting on?Us Kiwis need to know we will in fact be voting on a very specific piece of legislation; not the concept of euthanasia. If we vote ‘yes’ in the binding referendum, the law is passed and active. No changes or adjustments can be made to this Act. So we should be examining the piece of law in front of us. However hard it is, we must put aside our view on the topic of assisted dying, and check this is the right law for the job.We need to carefully assess and analyse this law to ensure it allows the autonomy to choose – something that many of us seek, while protecting those who shouldn’t have access, for one reason or another. And there’s no space for error – if we get it wrong, death is a big penalty.READ MORE: read more

CAF CHAMPIONS’ LEAGUE: Zamalek’s Morsy Stuns Enyimba in Group Stage Opener

first_imgNigerian champions, Enyimba, began their campaign in the CAF Champions’ League group stage yesterday on a losing note to Egyptian giants, Zamalek.Zamalek defeated the Nigerian club one-nil thanks to Bassem Morsy’s first half goal.Enyimba head coach, Paul Aigbogun, opted to go for a 4-4-2 formation with leading scorer in the competition, Mfon Udoh and new-signing Ifeanyi Onuigbo, starting up front while Christian Pyagbara played off them.Zamalek despite missing a handful of their influential players still listed a strong 11 that included Marouf Yousef, Tarek Hamed, Ahmed Tawfik, Kahraba and goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy.The condition at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt was soggy owing to rainfall but the Egyptian club were not moved as Morsy planted in a headed attempt past Theophilus Afelokhaijust eight minutes into the match.On 21 minutes, Kelly Kester watched as his effort from 25 yards was saved by El Shenawy.The Peoples Elephant continued to press for that goal to level the game, and three minutes before the break, Joseph Osadiaye created space for himself on the edge of the box but fired over the bar.It was the turn of Ikechukwu Ibenegbu to try at goal. His free kick just on the stroke of half time went off target by inches.Enyimba continued the second half in same fashion of pressing high against their opponents. An early chance in the restart was put wide by Onuigbo.Aigbogun then sent on Stephen Chukwude and Daniel Etor for Onuigbo and Udoh respectively but the Peoples Elephant could not breach the Egyptian champions.Mamelodi Sundowns and Zamalek have now picked full points on the opening day leaving Enyimba and ES Setif in third and fourth places in Group B.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

PSG beat Chelsea again to reach last eight

first_imgZlatan Ibrahimovic fired the winner as Chelsea’s hopes of salvaging their season suffered a major blow when they lost 2-1 at home to Paris Saint-Germain, bowing out 4-2 on aggregate in the Champions League last 16.It was always going to be a difficult proposition against a strong PSG side and their task was made even harder when the visitors, who were leading 2-1 from the first-leg, opened the scoring courtesy of Adrien Rabiot’s tap-in from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s sumptuous cross.Chelsea responded with Diego Costa emerging as their great hope. The forward was mocked in Paris for wearing a ‘superhero’ protective mask in the lead up to the game, but he threatened to make those ‘humorous’ digs come back to haunt them, capping an all-action display with a fine first-half equaliser.The home side struggled to lift themselves again in the second half and once Costa went off injured, it looked more likely that PSG would take control of the proceedings. And the visitors eventually grabbed a crucial second away goal on 67 minutes when Angel Di Maria crossed for Ibrahimovic to tuck home his 50th goal in UEFA competitions.It meant Chelsea needed three to go through and they never looked like reducing the arrears as they game fizzled out. The Blues must now raise themselves for their FA Cup quarter final at Everton at the weekend as they bid to salvage something from a turbulent season.– Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more